You know you need to connect more, but where do you start?
“When we’re not working, nothing works.”
I often think this when it comes to my marriage. I’ve spent years and years ‘working’ on myself – diving into old held beliefs, learning how to change my mindset, finding ways to connect to my real self and be the mama and woman I want to be.
And to be honest – I haven’t always put my relationship in that list. Which is natural when most of your world is taken up with your kids, and then you try to squeeze the tiniest amount of time left over into your own self-care.
But we’re not whole unless our partnership is whole too.
As women, we must give this part of our life our full, divine feminine attention too. If not, everything else falls apart pretty quickly.
I’ve learnt that again this year. And when I’ve switched focus and seen that a happy mama has a connected and loving relationship, things have started to flow again.
We’re happier, so the kids are happier.
We’re kinder to each other, so my Inner Mean Mama voice is kinder.
We’re connected, so I feel more connected.
It may feel like the bottom of our priority list at times, but finding ways to reconnect with our men is a key part to our happiness, mamas.
Here, our regular contributor Isiah McKimmie – sexologist and relationship counsellor – shares how.
Your relationship with your partner is the glue that holds your family together.
But when life gets busy, it can feel like you’re two ships passing in the night. More like housemates than intimate lovers. Can you relate to this?
Take a moment to think back to how you felt about your partner when you first got together.
Do you crave that ‘in love’ feeling again?
Incredible relationships don’t just happen. Thriving, intimate, passionate relationships need our energy – and action.
My clients are often surprised to discover how small actions can make a big difference to their feelings of love, connection, intimacy and passion.
So, here are 5 small actions you can take to help you stay in love or fall in love with your partner all over again.
1. Turn Expectation into Appreciation
We often have expectations of how our partner should behave or do certain things for us. These can be unspoken assumptions of how we think things should be.
In turn, we can become frustrated when these aren’t met – when what we expect isn’t matching up with reality. Over time, these frustrations turn to resentment.
When you notice feeling frustrated or resentful, turn your focus to appreciation instead.
Remember what you appreciate about your partner. What qualities about them do you love? How have they supported you or tried to support you recently?
By changing our focus to appreciation, we change our energy, perspective and perception which can drastically change our relationship with our partner.
The more we practice this, the more appreciation and gratitude we feel for our partner. And guess what? They will feel it too!
2. Be Fully Present with Each other for 10 Minutes
When was the last time you sat down and just looked your partner in the eyes?
Over time, our conversations with partners can become limited to logistics. We may also find that time spent together is always spent multitasking – trying to have a conversation while getting dinner on the table, putting the kids to bed or un-winding by watching TV.
This kind of limited and interrupted connection doesn’t build love or passion.
Being fully present with each other for at least 10 minutes a day reminds us that our relationship is a priority and helps to build intimacy. How can you fall in love again and foster that feeling if you don’t stop and pay your partner any attention? Set aside 10 minutes a day for focused connection between the two of you.
3. Make Sexual Intimacy a Priority
Sex builds intimacy through connection and the release of the hormone oxytocin (also known as the ‘love hormone’) which helps couples feel bonded and in love. Sex also promotes relaxation which can put couples at ease and means they are less likely to snipe and argue.
Sexual intimacy in long-term relationships doesn’t just happen, we need to act to make it happen. You can help by scheduling ‘bedroom dates’ or having nights where you consciously choose to turn off the TV and go to bed early.
If desire has faded in your relationship and you want to know how to get it back, check out this Happy Mama article.
4. Share Household Chores Equally
Research shows that couples who make decisions together and share household tasks have higher levels of relationship satisfaction, recover faster from arguments and experience increased sexual satisfaction.
Egalitarian relationships, especially ‘syncratic’ couples (those who work together and have equal say) have higher mutual satisfaction than ‘autonomic’ couples (those who divide work and decisions into separate-but-equal areas) and over relationships where one partner always has the final say.
And let’s face it – when one partner feels like they have been left doing all the housework, it’s hard to feel passion and excitement!
Do your best divide household chores together and make sure you both feel heard in important discussions. Share responsibilities, and keep the lines of communication open.
5. Sense of self
Before you were in a relationship, you were an independent woman with your own interests, who took care of herself above all others.
While your responsibilities have now changed, it’s vital you continue to maintain your sense of self, autonomy, independence and self-care.
Imagine two oak trees growing side by side. With enough distance between them, they actually support each other. When they’re too close, they won’t both thrive.
Maintaining your sense of self allows you to give more to those around you – and builds passion and healthy love in your relationship.
Isiah McKimmie is a Couples Therapist and Sexologist who has been helping couples reconnect and reignite intimacy for over 7 years. She is currently offering a free ebook to Happy Mama readers: How to Rediscover your Spark and Reignite Desire.